Chronic Pain

Start out slowly. It’s normal to be stiff in the morning.

If you have any kind of injury, muscle strain, or chronic pain, don’t be surprised if you wake up in more pain than you were in when you went to bed.  Everyone is a little bit more stiff in the morning from lying still all night long.  You just might not notice it until you have some kind of pulled muscle or other issue that’s causing pain and inflammation.

To top things off, the discomfort of morning aches and pains is going to be magnified if you have a heightened sensitivity to pain, which sometimes happens to people who have been through a traumatic physical experience.  (I’ve written more on that here).  When you combine these two things, the first few hours of the day can be excruciating.

If you notice increased pain and stiffness in the morning, I suggest you plan your days to leave yourself extra time in the morning.  I know this is sometimes easier said than done, but it really can make all the difference in affecting the overall quality of your day.

If you have time to go through the movements of getting ready for the day at a gradual pace, it will help you to slowly loosen up.  Little movements, like getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, and making breakfast will all help warm your muscles up and flush out any extra fluid that’s built up overnight.

You might find that there are certain things you can’t do when you first wake up, like bending down and pick something up off the floor, or reaching a mug on the highest shelf in the kitchen.  But if you keep getting ready for the day with small, gentle movements, you might find that after half an hour, some of your flexibility has returned.

In comparison, if you try to rush your body through motions that it’s not quite ready to perform, you’ll just be yanking on those stiff muscles and your nervous system will let you know that it is not pleased.  You might technically be ready to leave the house sooner, but you will be experiencing a lot more pain and discomfort than if you had just taken your time.  Trust me; there have definitely been times when I’ve chosen to sleep in instead of getting up early enough to take my time to get ready.  The first few hours of those days ended up being miserable.

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